Authorised persons from Scotiabank were not contacted for a comment

Dear Editor,

With reference to an article titled ‘New US tax compliance Act still to be discussed by bankers association‘ published in Stabroek Business of the Stabroek News of April 20, 2012, we wish to voice a few concerns over inaccuracies in the piece and the alleged source of information from Scotiabank.

The headline of the article is itself misleading since no contact was made with the Guyana Association of Bankers (GAB) for a comment in this regard. Scotiabank currently holds the Chair of the GAB, represented by the undersigned. The Secretary of the GAB is Ms Adele Farier, a senior officer of Scotiabank. Both Ms Farier and I are unaware that Stabroek Business was seeking information on this subject.

Further, references within the article to information provided and comments made by a Scotiabank “source” are uncorroborated and unsubstantiated. The writer of the article is aware of the persons authorized to speak on behalf of Scotiabank and neither was contacted for a comment.

Scotiabank wishes to offer the following corrections to information contained in the mentioned article:

US Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA and not FACTA) is aimed at identifying US persons with financial assets outside the US.

Regulations pertaining to this Act and agreement between the US and foreign financial institutions have not been finalized at this time. This will be informed by whether this matter is addressed at the country level – that is if the country agrees to enter into an agreement with the US in this regard – or whether it will be at the financial institutions level, with financial institutions agreeing to observe the obligations under FATCA. Thus action by local banks will depend upon the finalization of the approach to be taken in this regard.

Scotiabank at this time is unaware of the possible penalty of ‘blacklisting’ by the US as reported in the article. As far as we are aware non-compliance could result in 30% withholding tax on US sources.

As a branch of a Canadian bank, Scotiabank in Guyana is aware of a legal requirement imposed to  report on interest bearing accounts for Canadian residents.

However, the bank does not offer
interest bearing account services in this regard.

The Guyana Association of Bankers has not decided on an approach with respect to FATCA and has issued no comment on behalf of the association in this regard.

We trust that a retraction in the form of prominent publication of this letter in your Business Page will be done soonest.

Scotiabank and the GAB consider ourselves amenable to the media and we ask that in future your writers channel their questions to the appropriate source/s to obtain accurate information.

Yours faithfully,
Amanda VML St Aubyn
Country Manager Scotiabank
Chairperson Guyana
Association of Bankers
Editor’s note

1. That the headline to the article was not inapposite is confirmed by Ms St Aubyn herself, who says above that the “Guyana Association of Bankers has not decided on an approach with respect to FATCA.”  

2.  The executive of GAB was not approached for a comment because Stabroek Business was already aware that the matter arose after the last meeting of the association, and could not be considered, therefore, before the next one was held.

2.  Most of the “corrected” information offered by Ms St Aubyn in the letter above, is contained in the article in question.

3.  We have noted for future reference the persons identified by Ms St Aubyn as being authorized to speak on behalf of Scotiabank, and will operate accordingly.

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